My first introduction to a wall bed was when we visited friends who had a wall bed for us. It was very comfortable. It was a queen-size bed, solid with a great mattress.
They are popular for good reason. They offer guests a very comfortable sleeping option and don’t take up any space (i.e. they can be used in almost any room except kitchen, bathroom or dining room).
Background: they’ve been around a long time
Initially, I thought wall beds were a fairly recent innovation. I was wrong. It turns out William Lawrence Murphy (of Murphy Bed fame), received his first patent sometime around 1900. Moreover, Sears, Roebuck & Co. sold a fold up beds before that.
Below we answer your questions about wall beds and probably offer more information than you ever wanted about this cool type of furniture.
What is a wall bed?
A wall bed is a bed that folds cantalevers up and is stored into the wall. When stored away, it forms part of a cabinet against the wall freeing up space in the room. When you need the bed, you release it and drop it downward.
FYI, they are also commonly referred to as Murphy Beds or folding beds. Murphy Beds is a very popular brand of wall beds and an industry leader.
In a nutshell, it’s a space-saving piece of furniture that allows you to turn any room into a guest bedroom.
Here’s a series of photos illustrating how a wall bed works – from storage position to full bed:
Benefits of a wall bed
The benefits are pretty clear. They are:
- Saves space.
- Turn almost any room into a guest bedroom.
- Gain additional storage and/or functionality in the room. You can add bookshelves, desk, TV stand, sofa and more. When you go with a custom design and build, the sky is the limit.
- Look really cool.
- More comfortable than many sofa beds.
Disadvantages of wall beds
It’s hard to pinpoint any disadvantages, but they are not without problems. Consider:
- Cost: custom wall beds with bells and whistles are expensive just as any custom cabinetry is.
- Have to make the bed: In order to fit the bed into it’s cabinet, the bed must be neatly made or blankets removed. It’s easier not having to tuck away a bed. FYI, you have this issue with sofa beds too.
- Can’t move it: Some models can be moved, but you need to take out screws. These things are bolted to the wall and pretty much can’t be moved to another room. It’s permanent.
Are wall beds growing in popularity?
Yes, big time. Check out this trend chart:
Which room can a wall bed go in?
In my opinion, they can go in any room other than the kitchen, dining room or bathroom.
They work in a living room, family room, home office, basement, garage, out-building such as artist studio or she-shed, etc. As long as it’s pretty easy to create sufficient space to drop down the bed, you can put it there.
How much do wall beds cost?
The cost depends on whether you buy one ready-made, design your own or have it custom built. Feature addons will dictate the price as well such as shelving, etc.
Ready-made wall beds (they’re delivered and you assemble) will start at around $1,200 for a base unit.
Custom designs can go as high as $10,000 or higher. Yeah, I know it’s a lot, but you can create extensive built-in features such as the following example which creates an entire home office with a wall bed built into it:
As you can see from a couple of examples above, you can add all sorts of features to your wall bed. Whether some basic bookshelves or a complete home office system to TV entertainment center and more.
With a TV Stand
With a Sofa
Are wall beds comfortable?
Yes, they are. They’re large enough to accommodate a quality mattress. More importantly, they don’t need to be folded so you don’t need a flimsy mattress that can fold. In other words, you get a real mattress.
Moreover, they’re solid pieces of furniture with an even sleeping surface.
I’ve slept on one and it was amazing.
Types of Wall Beds
There are 3 main types of wall beds. Here they are.
Wall Bed Sizes
Can you take your wall bed with you if you move to another house?
Yes, you can but it requires disassembling them from the wall. The more cabinetry and furniture attached, the more complicated it is to extricate from the room. They are essentially built-in furniture, but with a drill or other tools, they can be removed.
Are wall beds suitable for a primary bedroom?
Yes, but it’s not necessary unless your primary bedroom doubles as another space which is not uncommon in small apartments. If, however, you have a dedicated primary bedroom space, there’s no reason to spend the money on a wall bed. I believe the money is better invested in a better mattress and traditional bed.
Let’s face it, are you seriously going to tuck the bed into the wall each day? Not likely. It’s only done when used as a space-saving bed so that the space can be used for something else when not being used as a bed.
Are wall beds good for kids?
Like my answer to whether they’re good for a primary bedroom, the cost and the fact you and definitely your kids, are not going to tuck it into the wall each day. However, if you live in a smaller space, it can be a viable solution for when there are more people than bedrooms.
As for whether they’re comfortable enough as a main bed, yes, they are. They provide very good comfort and support as a bed.
DIY Wall Beds
There are three types of DIY wall beds.
First, you can assemble a purchased wall bed. This is pretty typical.
Second, you can buy plans or a kit and build it.
Third, you can design and build one from scratch.
Most people buy one with all the materials and hardware and simply assemble it. Why? Because it’s a fairly complex piece of furniture that unless you have very good design and woodworking skills, you’re better off with a manufactured one.
Here’s a DIY wall or folding bed built from professional plans. It’s quite good.
Wall Bed / Murphy Bed Alternatives
The primary reason you’d get a wall bed is for space-saving functionality. Therefore, the key Murphy bed alternatives are other bed options that save space and/or serve another function. They include:
- Sofa bed
- Convertible sofa
- Trundle bed
- Bunk bed
Online Wall Bed Stores?
Where can you buy a wall bed?
I don’t know about what brick and mortar stores you have near you, but you can buy them online. Here are some online wall bed stores: